By Ben Higgins
I started Generous International with my friends Riley Fuller and Drew Scholl about a year ago. But, before we discuss what I’ve learned so far, I want to share why I decided to leave the corporate world.
My personality is not suited for working in an office; I love interacting with others, and I struggled to sit in a cubicle for 40 hours a week. I should have known myself enough to recognize this, but I’m thankful for the experience.
Do you dream of becoming an entrepreneur?
Looking back on the past year, I’ve discovered a heck of a lot about starting a business. Here are five things I’ve learned so far:
- Evaluate your passion: A good idea is not enough. You have to really believe in what you are doing. If I did not fervently believe in the Generous mission — providing the highest-quality coffee and using profits to multiply good in the world — I would not have made it this far.
- Hire people you like: Of course, they need to be competent and provide a valuable skill set, but I don’t want to spend long days with people I don’t like being around. I seek employees who fit the Generous culture, one of creativity, freedom, respect, and ownership.
- Get organized: In college, I could barely recall which assignments were due. But a young business needs an infrastructure of marketing, sales, accounting, legal, and more. I’ve had to work hard to improve my organizational management skills.
- Practice listening: Craig Groeschel (check out his leadership podcast) explains great leaders are always open to learning. So I’ve focused on improving as a listener. Employees, customers, business partners, and contractors all have excellent insight. Many of the best things I did over the past year have come from ideas that were not my own.
- Embrace the journey and your supporters: Getting a business to the point of financial viability takes A LOT of time. The uncertainty, long hours, and tedious work can be emotionally challenging and a bit lonely. Fortunately, I have a great Denver community that pours into me on harder days.
Being your own boss can be difficult, but it’ll change your life. I’m growing immensely with the weight of a business on my shoulders; I love cultivating my own creativity; and I get to meet and work with incredible people.
If you started a business, what kind would it be?